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Angela Merkel to visit refugee shelter attacked in neo-Nazi protest

Published 25/08/2015

Firefighters tackle the blaze at a gym intended as temporary housing for refugees in Nauen, west of Berlin. (AP)
Firefighters tackle the blaze at a gym intended as temporary housing for refugees in Nauen, west of Berlin. (AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit a refugee shelter hit by neo-Nazi rioting.

Mrs Merkel will travel to Heidenau, south of Dresden, on Wednesday to meet refugees, support workers and local officials, her spokesman said in a statement.

Dozens of police were injured when a far-right mob hurled bottles and fireworks at officers trying to ensure asylum seekers could move into the re-purposed hardware store on Friday and Saturday.

Mrs Merkel called the incident "shocking" and "shameful".

Germany has seen a surge in refugees coming to the country this year, with officials predicting the number could reach 800,000 by the end of 2015.

While most Germans have been welcoming to the refugees, a minority has vocally opposed them. Attacks against refugees and asylum centres roughly doubled to 202 during the first half of the year, including eight cases of arson.

Police in the eastern state of Brandenburg said a fire at a gym intended as temporary housing for refugees was likely the result of arson.

Nobody was injured by the fire in Nauen, about nine miles west of Berlin, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Far-right protesters had repeatedly demonstrated against the arrival of asylum-seekers in Nauen this year.

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